God created us to live with and love those we cherish. Our relationships with those we care most about bring us an almost immeasurable sense of joy when they work well, and a sense of despair when they don't.
Broken hearts hurt. Mark Leary, a professor of psychology and neuroscience at Duke has this to say: "We're motivated to maintain good relationships and try to repair them when problems arise, because breakups and rejections hurt". In fact, an article in USA Today reports how heartbreak can cause physical pain as well as emotional pain.
With all this suffering, finding ways to heal your heart can prove elusive. What counsel from the Bible does God want you to remember when your heart is breaking?
1. You are never alone in your sadness
God cares about you personally and he has not left you alone. In Matthew 28:20 we read, "And lo, I am with you always." Always. God is with us through it all. And not only is he there for us always, he is there to comfort us; John 14:18 reads "I will not leave you comfortless. I will come to you."
2. Pour out your heart and soul in prayer
Jeremiah 29:12 tells us how we should react during hardships: "Then shall you call upon me, and you shall go and pray unto me, and I will hear you. And you shall seek me, and find me, when you shall search for me with all your heart."
3. Reach out to others who love you
In times of heartbreak, how do you know who truly loves you? Corinthians chapter 13 tells us that real love is patient and kind. Real love is not self-serving. Those who truly love you are not easily angered and do not act out of jealousy or envy. Rather, they have your best interests at heart. Find those who really love you and reach out to them.
4. Don't get discouraged when love throws you a curveball
Learn and grow from your experience. Make adjustments to your plans and recalculate your bearings when love goes awry. Don't waste time agonizing over things you can't change. In Deuteronomy 1:21, the Lord tells us "to fear not, neither be discouraged". Instead of being discouraged, we need to be hopeful and not fear. God is with us.
Don't harbor rejection. Forgive those who have wronged you, whether or not you think they deserve it. Luke 6:37 counsels: "Be merciful, don't judge or condemn others. Forgive that you may be forgiven". Lend mercy to those who have hurt you - At some point in your life, you'll need the same thing.
6. Cultivate a grateful heart
Ephesians 5:20 tells us to "Give thanks always, for all things, to God". Don't be so worried about winter coming that you fail to notice the brilliant reds, oranges and yellow colors of fall. Nothing brightens our spirits like a daily dose of gratitude.
The word "joy" appears 165 times in the KJV of the Bible. Clearly the Lord wants us to have joy in this life; not self-serving happiness, but joy. Galatians 5:22 reads; "But the fruit of the Spirit is joy." Even when your heart is breaking, choose joy.
Reach out and seek God when your heart is broken, and he will heal you. While a broken heart seems as if it will last forever, it won't. Give it time. Psalm 20:5 tells us how "Weeping may endure for a night, but joy comes in the morning".